Courageous and The Resolution for Men – Coming to Your Church Soon?

But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.

James 5:12

The Resolution for Men

Courageous. A Movie. A Movement. is taking the Christian world by storm. If you don’t believe us, just Google “Courageous The Movie”. This movement has been sweeping through churches since the movie first hit theaters last fall, and congregations are holding recognition ceremonies. Perhaps your church has made an announcement similar to this hypothetical one.

A Special Father’s Day Recognition

This Father’s Day we will hold a special recognition ceremony during the worship service. There are some men in our congregation who have resolved to live courageously by setting an example for the next generation. They have been meeting each week to complete the Courageous Living Bible study and discuss The Resolution for Men book.

On June 17, Father’s Day, these courageous men will be signing an important document called The Resolution for Men. Participation in the ceremony is not limited to only those who have completed the study. Our pastors will be conducting the ceremony and want to encourage ALL of the men in our church family to join them in signing The Resolution for Men. If would like to participate, please e-mail or phone one of the pastors.


Today’s post is intentionally short because we want you to watch the following clips. First up are the Kendrick brothers explaining how to plan a Courageous Resolution Ceremony.

Now let’s take a look at an actual ceremony that happened on Mother’s Day 2012, recognizing courageous men and women. Please be sure to watch the entire ceremony and notice that not everyone is participating.

Did you notice a striking difference between the signing of the resolutions? Women simply affix their signature while men who sign the document are required to have two witnesses. Hmmm…

WHY the difference? We’d love to hear your theories.

The Resolution for Men document is based on a book by the same name. It was written by the Kendrick brothers and Randy Alcorn. What follows is a brief description:

“The Resolution for Men is the inspiring book born out of Courageous, a new film by the makers of Fireproof coming to theaters nationwide in fall 2011. The movie, which presents a powerful story of strong male leadership, is an emotionally charged wake-up call to fathers whose influence upon their children and society is immeasurable. The Resolution for Men follows to challenge men of all ages to become as bold and intentional about embracing their responsibilities as leaders of their homes, marriages, and children.”

The Resolution for Men begins with these EXACT words:

The Resolution for Men (Copyright 2011 Kendrick Bros. LLC)

How’s that for intimidation?

We wholeheartedly agree that husbands and fathers should be leading their families in a godly manner. What concerns us is that by going through this book individually or in a Bible study spanning a number of weeks and then signing the resolution, will that truly effect change? Why are The Prayer of Jabez and The Purpose-Driven Life suddenly coming to mind?

We all know that faddish commitments based on emotion rarely translate into lifelong change. Is that what is going on here? We will explore The Resolution for Men and this Courageous phenomenon in our upcoming post – just in time for Father’s Day…

Lydia’s Corner: Daniel 8:1-27 1 John 2:1-17 Psalm 120:1-7 Proverbs 28:25-26


Courageous and The Resolution for Men – Coming to Your Church Soon? — 76 Comments

  1. It breaks my heart to see people exchange the pure, sweet simplicity of life in Christ Jesus and the power of the Word of God for this twaddle. How many fads like this have we endured over the last twenty years? Ten or more, I think. By now people should have wised up. But, noooooo …

    “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” 2 Timothy 4:3

  2. This movement will be taken seriously by many. So, I’ve sought to give a serious response by sharing some observations about this Resolution, the tie-in book, the signing ceremony, and the history of “men’s movements” in America.

    When a man is born again in Christ and the Holy Spirit is in him, the “new man” desires to be/become more like Jesus. And that *should* open up all kinds of issues – all aspects of our lives, really. I believe it’s okay to capitalize on that (super)natural desire-motivation-interest. It’s from God, and it’s there for good reason. No areas of life, no subjects should be off limits to our God and Father …

    … However, I didn’t get any sense that the categories/topics are integrated in a way that reflects a holistic paradigm. And if they are in fact still compartmentalized, then it will be too easy to turn discipleship into a series of category checklists of behaviors and attitude and miss being a truly “whole and holistic man.” But what does that mean?

    Also, while I would agree for the need to address the issues in the book – responsibility, family, wife, children, honor, justice, love, provide, reconcile, integrity, faithfulness, legacy – this approach suffers from “spiritual osteoporosis.” At first glance, it seems solid enough. Yet, it looks more like Bible Belt Christian Culture than holistic discipleship. There simply are many things missing as major topics (though understood, some may be addressed in bits or pieces in various chapters). But where are the Resolution points and/or book chapters or appendices are major holistic discipleship topics like:
    • Arts, aesthetics, creativity, and imagination.
    • Emotions, relationships, community beyond one’s family.
    • Environmental stewardship.
    • Addictions (other than pornography).
    • Abuse and violence.
    • Spiritual gifts and stewardship.

    There is a Resolution statement on seeking to bring glory to God, but much of the book’s material looks generic and doesn’t seem to get to the specific of figuring out who you uniquely are and investing in how you can contribute specially and specifically to the Kingdom. That, along with the spiritual osteoporosis, pretty much quenched any interest I might have in the book.

    Also, the Resolution is written explicitly for married men, so, as a man who has always been unmarried and abstinent, I was excluded from being “courageous” from the outset … well, at least their kind of courageous. The category of single people is so often overlooked in such things that I’ve gotten relatively numb to it – like during the six-week Sunday sermon series my home church had on how to have a great marriage. A group of us single adults asked the pastor what we were supposed to do for the next month and a half – go visit other churches? – since we were being left out for such a period of time. The fact of single people having to sit through six “irrelevant” seeker-sensitive sermons was quite a shock to him; we had clearly not even crossed his mind in the strategizing of his sermons for the year. Also, obviously, we would not be given “equal time,” though that wasn’t our objective. What would happen to attendance if he presented a six-week series on having a great singlehood? Oh well …

    Regarding the signing ceremony … that seemed out of order. Don’t lawyers always tell you NEVER sign something you haven’t read yet? And did they sign with enough understanding? Scripture is clear enough, isn’t it, that you don’t make vows quickly or unknowingly. And since the pastor stated that his responsibility was to either run a group for guys to go through the *Resolution for Men* or ensure that signers had gone through the book on their own, that means they probably didn’t read the book in advance.

    Dudes! I strongly suggest you take it seriously enough to go through the study before deciding whether to sign on, so you both know and understand what you are committing yourself to. Do the same if/when you sign membership covenants or contracts, or you may find yourself in a whole heap of trouble, as too many messed-over members have been finding out the past few years especially. (See the TWW category on “Covenants/Contracts” for details and samples.)

    Finally, this might end up being considered the fourth “men’s movement” within the Boomer generation. I was a participant-observer in the first three, some of them more egalitarian, others more complementarian:
    1. The pro-feminist men who supported equal rights and justice for women in the 1960s and ’70s.
    2. The men’s recovery movement of the 1980s and beyond (e.g., Robert Bly – *Iron John*, Samuel Keen – *Fire in the Belly: On Being a Man*, etc.)
    3. The Promise Keeper’s Movement, staring in the early 1990s. (I even went to the second ever national leadership training and gathering).

    This looks the most complementarian of the men’s movement yet, and I have to wonder how the material will be used to reinforce conventional Western gender-role stereotypes and potentially be co-opted by other ministry movements – many of which show malignant side-effects of authoritarianism.

    The Resolution and the book have far more media back-up with the *Courageous* movie than the prior men’s movements had. It’s got some big buzz going, and it may turn out bigger than Promise Keepers. I haven’t seen the movie and don’t know if I will. But, from what I’ve read in the Resolution and book table of contents on Amazon, while I understand some of the sincerity and right motivations behind being at least this kind of “courageous” man, it just isn’t the whole and holistic trajectory I believe I (or other men) should be on. It seems to me too culturally conditioned and too limited, which I believe will cause problems down the track. I really don’t expect to be involved at all …

    Thanks for providing a forum for this discussion, Deb and Dee. This isn’t a topic I likely would’ve written about on my own blog.

  3. hmmm… as to why the men required 2 witnesses and the women required none… perhaps the assumption is that the women’s resolution is not that much of a stretch for them to adhere to, whereas the men’s resolution is assumed to be a bigger challenge for men. Is it because the requirements in the men’s resolution are steeper for any human being to follow, or are they just hard for men to follow? Do Christian men, therefore, have a low opinion of themselves? Or, is it deliberate fanfare, leading to hero creation? (Contrived heroism?) Obviously with nothing comparable for women.

    I couldn’t quite see the images of the Resolutions well enough to read them in detail, so just guesses here.

    (Funny, how something as “critical” as this for “godliness” has to be purchased. But it seems the resolution doesn’t work by itself, but only if accompanied by paraphernalia — “The Resolution Pack — Buy it for all the men in your church”, said the Courageous people.)

  4. Following from Brad/futurist guy’s excellent lengthy critique, if this is a form of ‘neo-promise keepers’ can we link to some posts on the damaging effects of Promise Keepers? I’ve heard anecdotal evidence, but haven’t read up on it further, which I’d like to.

  5. All of this manly men manliness stuff reminded me of an episode of an Australian comedy show from about a decade ago. The two central characters decide they need to grow up and be more manly, but they can’t afford to pay for ‘manhood’ workshops so decide to invent their own, called ‘Primal Enlightened Nobleman In Society (note the acronym!).

  6. @Pam is that a legendary manly mustard Torana?

  7. @ brad/futuristguy:

    Hi Brad,

    I tend to agree with pretty much everything you say. And also, what’s happened to the earlier movements? I’ve not heard anyone refer to or talk about Robert Bly or Promise Keepers in a long time. I’d be interested in other people’s comments, but it seems to me that PK was actually less “comp” than this new movement.

    I also get the feeling that some of the framers of these resolutions (and movements) have a certain stereotypical kind of male in mind, often blue collar, but also white collar if he’s working in a competitive environment (banking, sales, etc), almost inevitably married, and usually interested in sports. I hope I’m not doing anyone an injustice here.

  8. Those “Resolutions” are copyrighted (Copyright 2011 Kendrick Bros. LLC)?
    Are those framed versions purchased from the Kendrick Bros. or from “Courageous – The Movie”?
    A great money-making resolution: exploit masculine self-loathing. Just look at the pained expressions on all those guys. Not a smile in the bunch.

  9. My thoughts, on both the “how to create a ceremony” video and the post.

    1) Has my church done one of these? No, thank God. Lutherans don’t usually have the time of day for this macho crap – ’cause ya know, our pastors are just big sissies who wear clerical collars.

    2) They were “drawn” to Joshua 24:15? Ha ha. That’s one of the most overquoted verses in the Christian homeschool movement, along with Deuteronomy 6:6-9. They didn’t have to be “drawn” too hard to pick it.

    3) It’s pretty funny, in light of the fact that Vision Forum is populated by uber-Calvinists, that John Wesley is suddenly a cool guy because he made a list of resolutions at some point in his life. Five minutes ago he was probably an evil “perfectionist” and propagator of a “man-centered gospel.”

    4) Kendrick compares the Resolution ceremony to a wedding? Wow. Weddings are a sacrament in the Catholic church and kind of a huge deal everywhere else. But no pressure when you sign this paper, guys.

    5) Having grown up knowing patriarchal/semi-patriarchal families and watching them at homeschool conventions, let me tell you, these people LOVE LOVE LOVE to invent ceremonies for practically ANY event that can occur in (male) family life. If you can dress up in fancy/historical costumes, that’s even better.

    Here’s an example. A few months ago my mom and I went to a “homeschool blessing” evening service at a local Pentecostal church. Well, the pastor’s son had just turned thirteen, so his dad decided to incorporate a “knighting” into the service. This is where the boy, who has just entered puberty and is thus a “man-in-training,” is “knighted” by his father with a wooden sword as a “rite of passage,” accompanied by lots of language about God and discipleship. If you’ve never heard of this before, it’s because it never existed before.

    Notice also that I said MALE family life. Often what happens is the men/boys will get ceremonies for lots of stuff, but all the girls get is their purity ball where they essentially sign ownership of their virginity over to their dad. I’ve never seen any kind of puberty-based “rite of passage” ceremony for girls (i.e., a “first period” ceremony), even though it’s pretty much obvious physically (much more so than for boys) when a girl has become a “young woman.” You’d think it WOULD be important, because once a girl starts menstruating, she can (theoretically) bear children – which is, after all, one of her only two callings in life.

  10. Further to my comment above, I think I need to amend what I said about Promise Keepers. If the Wikipedia article and the link to one of the articles therein are true, then there was a lot more complementarianism going on in the background than was apparently obvious from their basic resolutions.

  11. Bill:

    I feel the same way. I am at least currently a Southern Baptist and there has been foolish stuff like this going on for years that really fires me up and makes me not want to be a Southern Baptist.

  12. “This looks the most complementarian of the men’s movement yet, and I have to wonder how the material will be used to reinforce conventional Western gender-role stereotypes and potentially be co-opted by other ministry movements – many of which show malignant side-effects of authoritarianism.”

    My thoughts exactly! I’m concerned about this movement because not everyone who gets involved realizes that the groups behind it/supporting it/using it hold much stricter patriarchal views than most mainstream Evangelical churches. People need to know what the agenda behind “Courageous” is.

    This is a hard topic for me, because I don’t want to deny that many men feel lost or don’t know how to be actively engaged in their families. But it seems like the answer many churches throw at them is “Oh, you just need to be more powerful/have more control by leading in XY and Z.” I just can’t see Jesus’ response to a lost person being “You need to have more power and control.”

  13. Deb: “Who is buying this stuff?”

    Well, if you count just the Resolutions on the tables at that little church ceremony, including the one the pastor is reading, they bought 19 (10 women’s & 9 men’s). Perhaps they bought a whole caseful at a discount? Whatever. Mutiply that times hundreds or thousands of churches (there is also a Spanish version of the Resolutions) – well, you get the picture.

    Just think of the knock-off/spin-off product marketing possibilities! Coming to your church bookstore soon: “Courageous” sunglasses (every manly man’s man will want a pair – remember Dad on Father’s Day!), “Courageous” Steak Sauce, “Courageous” Promise rings & bracelets, posters, t-shirts, <a href=""gimme caps, etc. The possibilities are endless!

  14. Haitch

    My husband attended Promise Keepers a couple of decades ago. Back then they were primarily emphasizing racial reconciliation and men spending time with their families. Our church under Pete Briscoe, started a Bible study for men called Top Gun. It was excellent. Great books by the likes of Henri Nouwen (no patriarch, he) and other books dealing with all sorts of issues. Since Pete believes that women can be pastors there wasn’t a hint of the hierarchical, submission thing.
    However, I, too, have heard that some things have changed and that other churches used this group to enforce a strict submission, women shut up and let the men do the talking, type thing. It’s funny how one’s view on many issues will color how the material is used.

  15. Deb: “Who is buying this stuff?”

    Well, if you count just the Resolutions on the tables at that little church ceremony, including the one the pastor is reading, they bought 19 (10 women’s & 9 men’s). Perhaps they bought a whole caseful at a discount? Whatever. Mutiply that times hundreds or thousands of churches (there is also a Spanish version of the Resolutions) – well, you get the picture.

    Just think of the knock-off/spin-off product marketing possibilities! Coming to your church bookstore soon: “Courageous” sunglasses (every manly man’s man will want a pair – remember Dad on Father’s Day!), “Courageous” Steak Sauce, “Courageous” Promise rings & bracelets, posters, t-shirts, gimme caps, etc. The possibilities are endless!

  16. Pam
    I so enjoyed that video clip! It started my day off with a smile.They remind, a bit, of the Three Stooges in America. I loved the idea of the manly weekend. I also laughed at the trick they played with the elevator.

  17. Kolya
    I believe that there are men (and women!) who also take what they are fed because they are too busy to think through the implications. So, if the church has some sort of “resolution” they accept it because it sounds OK and why quibble over trivialities. Besides, their whole group of friends are doing it and the pack mentality is alive and well in many churches. They use the word “unity” to describe it, however.The real challenge for churches is how to accept real unity in diversity and apply it. Some churches actually believe it is harmful to have those who disagree with them about such issues as “the age of the earth”in the congregation.

    Case in point: Some friends and I held a 6 week discussion on creationism in a class. We invited the “young earth expert” to take part. I spoke with him and asked him if he would allow the kids to learn about all the thoughts in this area. He gave a categorical “no,” even though I pointed out that kids were leaving the faith in college over this issue. He believed it would be harmful which also told us what he thought about us. So, it is more harmful to allow differing thoughts on secondary issues than letting kids leave the faith? Yep, according to him.

  18. TedS
    Yep, didn’t you know that Jesus copyrighted the Sermon on the Mount? BTW, Bent Meyer sent me an email and I plan to write about it next week. You will find it interesting and it may cause some questions to be raised.

  19. Dee:

    I cannot believe this sort of manipulation is used in the House of God. Would I sign the document for a man–heck no! Would I even begin to consider having my wife of soon to be thirty years sign the document for a woman–no way in a million years.

    As you can see I strongly oppose such silliness.

  20. Gah. It took so much of my energy to resist the “you gotta come to the next Promise Keepers rally” stuff back in the day. Not looking forward to new battles.

  21. Dee and Deb,

    Thank you for exposing the crass commercialism and faddishness of the Courageous phenomenon. And I thought it was just another bad movie! This whole thing seems like yet another marketing campaign for Hollywood franchise of the moment.


    “We invite any man whose heart is willing and courageous.” Kendrick Brothers

    “… God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the mighty… that no flesh should glory in His presence…for I was with you in weakness, in fear and in much fear and trembling…that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

    “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” The Apostle Paul

    “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” The risen Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior.

  23. “Did you notice a striking difference between the signing of the resolutions? Women simply affix their signature while men who sign the document are required to have two witnesses. Hmmm…”

    Bummer of a ceremony.

    This “ceremony” was held on Mothers Day? And the men get a super duper special picture posing with the pastor after they signed their resolutions, but the women did not get that same honor on their special day? Throw them a bone, pastor.

  24. Diane,

    I noticed that about the picture-taking, too! I guess the women were just lucky to be acknowledged up front.

  25. @ Koyla asked about earlier men’s movements.

    I’ve been doing research/resource work for a very long time, and produced annotated bibliographies on multiple ministry issues. So I’ve watched the Christian publishing since the 1970s. I remember the days when the “men’s section” in Christian bookstores – back when they were more books than Christian Kitsch – typically took up half a shelf. The trinity of men’s topics covered were:
    • Managing your finances
    • Marriage
    • Parenting

    Then, in the late 1980s, the book that really did pioneer a Christian counterpart to the secular men’s movement was Gordon Dalbey’s *Healing the Masculine Soul*, first published in 1987. As best I can recall, he had a far more holistic perspective. Dalbey had been a Peace Corps Volunteer, and knew more about the world beyond suburbia. His book dealt with deeper personal issues, and also brought in a lot of sociological and cultural insights on why men in America end up feeling isolated and not “called forth” toward mature masculinity. There really was nothing like it in the Christian market at the time.

    It would be intriguing to go back to that key book now, and compare it with the wild-at-heart perspective, Resolution, and maybe some of the key Promise Keepers books.

    Speaking of Promise Keepers (PK), I have a few thoughts. In 1992, I participated in the second PK national conference (with over 25,000 men) and the smaller leadership training just prior to that (with something like 4,000 pastors, counselors, and men’s ministry leaders). That was at Boulder, Colorado. After that, they started up multi-site national conferences, and regional events. I attended a few regional events after 1992, and I read a number of the PK-related books in those early years.

    Like many pioneering movements, the best resource materials are often produced in the very first years – usually several years before any formal organization exists – by those who’ve already been living out what the movement’s about. These are the “primary sources” for the movement, and there were some good books at the start-up of PK.

    But then Christian publishing went crazy to find credible authors, and there were so many official and unofficial PK books and study guides and new categories to fill (men and emotions, men and reconciliation, men and their work lives) etc. that it really became impossible to keep up with the stream of print, or to evaluate what was based on long-time work and what was thrown together just to have an entry in this surprising and unexpected new market. When you get to the production of “secondary” books, they all start quoting one another and repeating the same themes with a lot of second-hand add-ons and nothing really new. That’s an indicator that the movement is losing vitality and/or about to shift or split into multiple directions. As best I can recall, that only took a few years and then there was a glut in the market. Men’s books started going onto the clearance tables a lot quicker than they had before.

    Sidenote: It would be intriguing to map out a timeline of when major books in the complementarian and egalitarian movements were published, along with specific movements like PK and dominion theology. (For instance, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhod was first published in 1991, same year as the first official PK conference.) It would also be interesting to find out if the Kendrick brothers had any connections with Promise Keeper events during their early twenties, or what other men’s books and organizations and movements have influenced them. Perhaps they represent a GenXer echo to the primarily Builders and Boomers of the early PK years …

    Somewhere in the mid- to late-1990s, the movement started faltering. I read the wikipedia article and it mentioned the 1997 “Stand in the Gap” summit at the Washington DC Mall, and that maybe PK got into financial troubles because of this. I wonder about whether things got politicized – or flowed into the dominion theology/Seven Mountains movement. [Anyone have any information/observations on that?]

    But, if nothing else, though, Promise Keepers did show that the Spirit was at work in the hearts and lives of men to be more Christlike, to work toward racial reconciliation (which was a huge theme in the early PK years), and to bring together men from across denominational lines (a big deal even back then). However, once what’s been stationary finally begins to move, it can be edged into less productive directions. Maybe that’s what happened with a lot of PK, or individual men underwent entropy and ended up stationary again …

  26. @ anonymous:

    These are my thoughts as well!

    The videos and paraphernalia try to produce an atmosphere of importance and godliness. I think it just adds extra-biblical laws and pressure, and all this at a cost no less!

    The people in the video did not look very excited or even happy. Maybe that is the result of more laws heaped on the people’s backs.

  27. brad/futuristguy: “It would be intriguing to go back to that key book now, and compare it with the wild-at-heart perspective…”

    What about the “wild-at-heart” perspective? Brad? Dee? Deb? All I’ve heard is accolades. Are you familiar with it? Comments?

  28. TedS: I’m not familiar with it directly, I just know that a lot of people talk about it and guyz I know have read it and seem to like some things but think others are too over the top (i.e., stereotype). But since it’s a perennial favorite these days, important to take a look at.

    Unfortunately, I’m in the midst of a huge project in other fields, otherwise it would be fascinating to dig out old files on the men’s movements, perspectives on “psychological androgyny,” gender identity development, and etc. Ah well … back to editing on spiritual abuse and recovery …

  29. brad/futuristguy,

    I always appreciate your sharing your vast knowledge with us! I admire the amount of research you have done.

  30. Some might be familiar with the Ryan Gosling “Hey Girl” images which have a phrase superimposed on an attractive photo of the actor. (or is that “a photo of the attractive actor”? – I don’t know, I am married…)

    But this puts a twist on the concept by using words like “Hey girl, you’re looking for a spiritual leader and I think I’m the man for the job.”

    The blogger has a good grasp of the patriarchal Christian world, though I think some of my Facebook friends who appreciate it might not realize that it is poking fun at the concept, not celebrating it!

  31. I hesitated watching this movie because I believe it is on the unrealistic side of the fence (maybe, a little). In my opinion, it makes it look easy for a person who is a Vision Forum type Christian to work in a high stress career like law enforcement and come out victorious, you know, in the Vision Forum way. I want to be fair and not judgmental, but you can almost picture the actor being the embodiment of Doug Phillips in a police uniform. The truth is that Doug Phillips is not in law enforcement; he is in the business of selling ideas to people (for a good penny might I add) like being a virtuous maiden or a grateful son.

    I know a few people (a few, that is) who work in high stress/high-risk-for-compromising character jobs, and I do not see the means by which the characters in the movie used, such as the resolution or the love dare. Life just does not pan out that way. Please correct me if I am wrong.

  32. @ Deb:
    Thanks … hope it’s helpful for background and perspective, and to clarify the questions – – cuz I usually don’t have “the answer.” But all this stuff on men’s movements wasn’t done in theory. It was part of my own figuring out in my 30s and beyond how God designed me and where I fit in the world of men, and, well, the world in general. Psychological androgyny studies were helpful. Those started mostly in the 1970s. Now we’d look at it as men with high E.Q.(Emotional Quotient) so they’re in touch with their heart and gut, not just with black-and-white analytical thinking. My learning styles and aptitudes that don’t fit American church stereotypes of “masculine” actually do fit with a paradoxical paradigm and the potential ability to be a “cultural creative.

    Which really does get at a core issue in parsing “gender roles” and complementarianism vs. egalitarianism. These differences between men and women in the ways they *DO* relate with one another and the world … how are the gender roles constructed out of those being overridden by local culture, how are we being influenced by their apparent *description* in Scripture, and does biblical description always constitute God’s *prescription* of what He intends? And do people who simply don’t fit the proposed categorical definition have something wrong with us, or is something wrong with the general roles going beyond somewhat 3D stereotypes into 2-dimensional caricatures (and grotesque ones at that)?

    These are crucial issues because they so directly affect how we live out our lives. If being human – created in God’s image – is the absolute core of our identity, then our gender is the very next layer out. If we look at those early chapters of Genesis especially, the priority order of things seems to be:
    • Human
    • Gender
    • Sexuality
    • Family
    • Extended family
    • Tribes
    • Languages
    • Cultures
    • Nations (geographical political entities)
    • Civilizations (clusters of related cultures and/or nations over time)

    Consider the “attacks” that happen at every level of our humanity. You mess up someone’s gender identity, and look at all the dominoes that could be messed up after that … The more rigidly defined and differentiated gender identity roles are for “masculine” and “feminine,” the more divided the involvement of men and women becomes in society. And that ultimately impacts how we do church and how we are or are not missional, right? So, it’s really relevant.

    Okay, got half-and-half so now I can dive into coffee break and then back to editing …

  33. I haven’t had a chance to post since TWW has been back online – welcome back!

    This stuff is nuts and the people profiting are not the families whose Dad’s and Mom’s sign away on this garbage, but the film makers who are profiting in the form of cash. The movie cost 2 million to make and made over 9 million during its first weekend. Add the additional theater run, the DVD/Blu-Ray sales, tie in books, certs, etc and you have a nice money printing operation for the Kendrick brothers.

    I have no problem with making money, but this is disguising profit under the name of God. I have HUGE issues with using God’s name to make $$$$$.

  34. Gee–the women making the resolutions sound so…enthusiastic.

    I have a big challenge being content. Would signing this pledge help me be more content? I doubt it.

    There’s too much “I” in these documents. It’s not about works, folks. We can’t do any of these things in our own strength, no matter how “resolved” we may be.

  35. Freedom,

    I couldn’t agree more! There’s no way to know how much the Kendrick Brothers LLC and Sherwood Baptist made, but the Courageous movie definitely raked in a huge chunk of change.

    We’re really glad to be back in the saddle, too!

  36. I couldn’t help myself … okay, yes I could’ve … but while the coffee was brewing, I checked a cultural studies bibliography I did 15 years ago. In it I found this entry:

    Wingspan: Inside the Men’s Movement, edited by Christopher Harding (St. Martin’s Press, 1992, ISBN 0-312-07886-2). Overviews the half-dozen or so branches of the modern men’s movement. This catalog of worldviews and subcultures, with essays by proponents, can give you insights into parallel approaches to beliefs and cultures outside of the men’s movement.

    As best I could reconstruct the “half-dozen or so” branches within what I earlier called the “second men’s movement,” the main perspectives back in the early 1990s were:

    • Mythopoetic – focus on storying, parables, poetry that explores masculinity. A lot of emphasis on Jungian archetypes, and sometimes on psychological androgyny (finding the “inner feminine” nurturing side of being masculine). Iron John by Robert Bly.
    • Recovery movement/counseling – spiritual/therapeutic perspectives of such issues as men and emotions, aggression/violence, domestic violence, misogyny, courage, integrity, machismo and masochism. Fire in the Belly by Sam Keen.
    • Pagan – earth-based spirituality in Druid, Celtic, pagan, wiccan traditions. The Quest for the Green Man by John Matthews.
    • Queer theory/gay pride – alternative takes on masculinity without heterosexuality.
    • Wild Man – events and activities such as drumming circles, men-only retreats, ceremonies, rites of passage (the aspect most often satirized as a buncha goofie guyz running around in nekked in the woods).

    The larger point here: The secular men’s movements got it about the need for redeeming and restoring rites of passage for boys-to-men that were missing from American culture, grieving the losses of family and society being without the father, and holistic perspectives on what it means to be masculine. Certainly some of the materials took things in not-so-constructive directions, but at least they identified what German researcher on *Society without the Father* Alexander Mitscherlich called “holes in their souls.”

  37. No one has even mentioned that this church is within the Ga Baptist Convention, that it under the control and directions from the within the GBC of Mike Everson, that he and the Sherwood pastor are very very close, AND the GBC was behind this film and its production.

    With all this said, history has ways of exploiting ideas. South Ga is the breeding ground of many Hyper-Calvinist vipers who use others to export their own propaganda and personal agendas.

    Zero in folks on the Georgia Baptist Convention and what their makeup is and make the GBC a focus for many answers you seek on the what’s and why’s things are happening the way they are!

    As my grandfather used to say….”If you want to know about a person, just listen to them slowly and very carefully……

  38. @ TedS.:
    Wild at heart is a justification for men to be patriarchal boors. It adds excuses to leave the family (except maybe teenage or near teenage sons) at home and do “man” things, like camping, hunting, etc. It provides also justification for involvement in sports, attending or watching sports events, etc., as “manly” activities. Of course, taking care of the baby, doing domestic things in the home, etc., are not considered “manly”.

  39. Another point about the difference in ceremonies for the men’s versus the women’s Resolutions: “Machismo” describes the sort of stereotypical strong male from Latin American cultures – honor-bound, bold, virile, full of bravado, often a philanderer, etc. However, a lot of people don’t know that there is the “complementary” stereotype for women: “Marianismo.”

    Based on the Virgin Mary, the Marianismo version of the “ideal woman” is: “emotional, kind, instinctive, whimsical, docile, compliant, vulnerable, and unassertive. She has a higher status in the community if she has children and is a caring mother. She is also pious and observant of religious laws.” (See the Wikipedia article.) In popular terms, she is the long-suffering wife who repeatedly takes back the unfaithful/wandering husband. And so, Marianismo can become the masochistic counterpoint to the sadistic Machismo bent.

    Now, with those in mind, perhaps we should go back with those two complementary descriptions and consider how rigid of *cultural* stereotypes the Resolutions portray. Are these gender roles truly biblical mandates, or are they cultural overrides?

  40. Watched the videos but can’t read all the comments at the moment…

    Re: the men having two witnesses and getting their picture taken while the women are left to their own sorry devices ON MOTHER’S DAY OF ALL DAYS MAKES ME WANT TO THROW SOMETHING. I’m sorry for shouting, but I find this so incredibly boorish and insensitive that it literally is making my stomach churn.

    If this isn’t the perfect example of the sorry treatment of women in this movement, I don’t know what is. This is so outrageously sickening I can hardly believe they have the audacity to post it online.

    I’m just in total shock. Every time I think there can’t possibly be anything new from this movement to surprise me I get totally surprised again.

    Must. walk. away. from. computer. now.

  41. elastigirl wrote:

    exploiting faith in God for profit.

    No doubt and perhaps the books/lobby will be outside in the church lobby for sale on Sunday. I’ve seen it before. Money changing in the temnple, eh?

  42. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    Sidenote: It would be intriguing to map out a timeline of when major books in the complementarian and egalitarian movements were published, along with specific movements like PK and dominion theology.

    Brad, if there is anyone who would be qualified to do this, my vote is with you! Your research skills amaze me.

    And also, the post above regarding the 6-wk sermon series on marriage really hit a spot for me. Where is the sensitivity? Or why couldn’t he combine the two to show how God uses both singles and marrieds for His purposes. What a shame.

  43. @ Julie Anne:

    Thanks for your vote of confidence on the research … now, if someone could please just send me real “time in a bottle” to do cover the research, and not just an MP3 of the Jim Croce song, I’m good …

    And, to the [delay-reaction] credit of the seeker-sensitive pastor, what he ended up doing was taking one of the six sermons and having a panel of single and single-again men and women do a sort of roundtable discussion on the roles and benefits of singles as “extended family members” in the lives of couples and families (and vice versa). It was well received, in part because all of us singles were really connected with others in the local church there. So it wasn’t about us being whiney, just the … okay, I’ll say it … insult of being treated as semi-citizens of the kingdom.

  44. Sallie wrote:

    but I find this so incredibly boorish and insensitive that it literally is making my stomach churn.

    I felt the same way, Sallie!

  45. Sallie said, “It is literally making my stomach churn.”

    Sorry about this:
    “Gary Busey and…Ted Haggard will swap partners for an upcoming episode of ‘Celebrity Wife Swap.’ The eccentric actor and the former evangelical pastor — both of whom have made the rounds in the media, Busey for drugs and getting arrested for abusing his wife; Haggard for a sex scandal — would seem an odd pairing for the ABC show. But they have spirituality in common: Busey is a born-again Christian and minister with Promise Keepers…”

  46. @ Anon:
    I don’t know much about either gentleman, but I believe the article is quoting an “Onion” satire rather than reality when it comes to Busey being a PK minister.
    “Pastor Ted”, however, is still “Pastor” Ted, which I believe speaks volumes. Whatever else he was forced to change or give up after everything “came out”, he simply COULD NOT give up being “Pastor”.

  47. The “weak men will not be able to handle this book” is either a boastful challenge or else a sales pitch, IMO. Reminds me of those job ads about “looking for a challenge”!@ anonymous:

  48. Koyla wrote:

    The “weak men will not be able to handle this book” is either a boastful challenge or else a sales pitch, IMO. Reminds me of those job ads about “looking for a challenge”!@ anonymous:

    Or is it a method of shaming men into taking the book seriously?

  49. I can relate to what you’re saying, Brad. Although I have a lot of friends – good friends – at church, I felt my status changed as soon as I became “single again” (as you put it). @ brad/futuristguy:

  50. Wait, if men need two witnesses and the women simply affix their signature, doesn’t that mean they actually put more stock in the word of the women? If I need two witnesses to verify what you are telling me, aren’t I saying I don’t trust you? An unintended irony on their part?

    However, if you are right and there is something under handed about the way they view a woman’s word then they would do well to note that the first witnesses to the resurrection were women. For women to be the first to testify and bring legitimacy to the resurrection was incredibly counter cultural.

  51. @ Sallie: or is it a means of making them feel like they absolutely have to buy the book so that profits are made?

    Seems to me that money is the real object here. (Along with all the other things, of course…)

  52. Hmm…I haven’t read through the comments yet. I’ll get to that. But I wanted to just post my first and persistent impressions…

    (Warning: rant to follow)

    The primary focus is on the person and what he/she will do. It feels like works and I am very familiar with this kind of mentality. The underlying belief places all the responsibility and even the ability of ‘being godly’ squarely in the human hands. It is a very dangerous mental gymnastic that claims Christ as the center but puts the power for achieving in the hands of men and what they choose to do.

    For me, the defense against being sucked back into this sort of mindset is simply this. If there is anything – ANYthing that we can do to achieve ‘godliness’ or ‘holiness’ or ‘righteousness’, then why on earth would God have sent his Son to be tortured to death? The whole point of the Gospel is that we were helpless to reconcile with God on our own – our very best – the best that we could ever offer is as filth apart from God. This is a hard concept to get the proud (I’ve been among them) to accept. At my very best – at my most good and pious – it is still nowhere near enough to bridge the gap. In fact, what I considered my most pious was actually my most arrogant and deceived. The only thing that bridges the gap between man and God is the Blood of Christ. Period.

    The Grace that gave the gift of Christ is all on Christ. We have nothing to do with it save be grateful and receive. And then, it is still His work in us that changes and brings forth the fruit. No matter how we look at it, all of the work and credit are His, not ours.

    This seems like they are saying that they are responsible for their own righteousness. Well, good luck with that….

    (end rant)

  53. @ Jeannette Altes:

    Upon reflection of what I wrote in my last comment, I wanted to add that my point is that we are all in the same boat – equal – and nothing we do changes that. I was not trying to paint the ‘we’re all ugly worthless wretches’ picture. I actually don’t believe we’re worthless. No one pays the price God paid for what is worthless.

    However, we do not have the ability to be ‘godly’ or ‘holy’ or ‘righteous’ in our own effort. We just don’t. And to pretend our efforts contribute to that is a dangerous game to play. That’s what I see in these resolutions and theologies.

  54. @ Amy:
    Amy, that is worth agreeing with you on. Yes, no matter how ‘resolved’ you are, you just can’t do it on your own.
    The whole reason that people needed to be saved is the same
    reason that one needs to be lifted and carried further in the Christian life–it is all by the work of the Holy Spirit based on the finished work of Christ!

    People need more than good intentions to be energized to overcome. It is all a work of the Spirit. It is the community of the Spirit in healthy Christian communities that can go a long ways to grow godly people who know that they are loved lavishly by God.

  55. @ Jeannette Altes:
    Yes, Jeannette, I think that you, Amy, some others, and I are saying about the same thing. That kind of Christianity does not have a place of freedom and life.

    “The underlying belief places all the responsibility and even the ability of ‘being godly’ squarely in the human hands. It is a very dangerous mental gymnastic that claims Christ as the center but puts the power for achieving in the hands of men and what they choose to do.”

    Your comment here is very insightful. It hits a nerve in many belief systems. Yes, Christ can be your Savior, but you have to do the rest–the santification part is ‘all’ up to you.

    When the individual has that overwhelming responsibility then the dark side seems to emerge. Freedom in Christ is lost and the Christian life is pure drudgery.

    Leaders take advantage of people rather than build them up in their faith. Control and banging the legalism drum becomes the undertow. Then the ‘funny stuff’ begins and the disasters pile up.

  56. @ Barb Orlowski:

    Yes, leaders take advantage of people. One of the admonitions Jesus gave concerning religious leaders comes to mind – the one about those who bind up heavy loads for people to carry and lend no assistance in the carrying….

    I see two distinct dangers to the belief. The first, as you’ve mentioned, lies in the wearing out of those who are trying to carry the load. Drudgery is a good word for it. It leads to a form of hopelessness and despair among those who are clear sighted enough to know they cannot meet the expectations placed upon them. These are likely to draw away from the faith. Others (I was one of these for several years) live in that constant state of cognitive tension between what they are taught to believe and what experience demonstrates – forever chasing this elusive ‘carrot-on-a-stick’, the promise of God’s blessing and favor, but never quite reaching the mark and being told they soooo close, don’t give up now….

    The other – and perhaps graver – danger lies where a person actually believes that their own efforts of ‘right living’ and ‘obeying the rules’ has actually placed them in a sort of better – ‘righter’ – standing with God than those around them. Those in this category have no compunction against judging other’s moral standing before God – becoming judge, jury and executioner – God, in a sense – of other people’s souls based solely on perceived outward behaviors.

    Among the first category, there is still a respect – even fear – of God. Fear born of lack of knowing His true nature and believing the vengeful tyrannical image presented by the legalists. But at least there is still a respect – a desire – for Him that leaves a door open for hearing His actual voice.

    Among the second category, in my experience, there seems to be no fear or respect for God. They seem to believe that God is on their side because of there actions; their own right behavior – and this is an extremely dangerous position. When I see someone in this place, I weep for their blindness and the danger they are in of being living examples of Matthew 7.

  57. Kolya
    Thank you for the Bristish review. I like the term “cheesy.” I smiled that the brits might find it refreshing. I wonder if they would find the pledges and the churches which push this tuff “refreshing” as well?

  58. Dear Ava,I don’t know you in person but my siript been touched by you. You are a beautiful little girl who has such a long, great life ahead of you. You have the face of an Angel and your most certainly a true gift from God. I live near the location where you were hit in your Mommys car and your beautiful little soul has touched many of our hearts in the community.Keep holding on Ava, with all of the strength you have and when your ready to take on the world, open those pretty eyes and give your Mommy and Daddy that beautiful smile that they’ve been longing to see. God is not done working His miracles just yet but when He is, you will be healthier than ever as we all claim both internal and external healing in the name of Jesus from the top of your head, to the souls of your feet by the Stripes of Jesus and we declare in Jesus name for you to rise up baby girl and open them gorgeous eyes. In the name of Jesus we thank you Lord for Ava’s miracle to be manifested now, in Jesus name we pray, AMEN<3